What is Light Uniformity? Why is Light Uniformity Important for Controlled Environment?

Lights are essential for plants’ development especially in a controlled indoor growing environment when grow light is the sole source for photosynthesis. However, not all grow lights are made equally, some are better than others. What makes a great grow light system? What to look at when choosing a grow light system? There are multiple factors to consider when choosing a grow light system. Light uniformity, energy efficiency, and lighting intensity are some of the key factors growers should consider when purchasing a grow light system, optimizing these factors will give better yield of crops, as well as cutting utility bills.

Among all the aspects of a grow light system, light uniformity often gets overlooked comparing to efficiency and intensity. Light uniformity is not only a key factor in growing healthy plants, but also could help the growers to save on their utility bills.

Light uniformity is how evenly the light source is distributed across a given area. In most circumstances, the light intensity right under the light will be stronger creating a “hot spot”. Especially if a growing space requires multiple grow light systems, there will be patches of unevenness. Why is even growth rate especially important for an indoor growing environment? If lights are not distributed evenly, the plants under the bright hot spot will grow faster and taller, thus casting shadows on the smaller plants. The smaller plants will have restricted growth due to the lack of lighting which will make them grow even slower. Even the faster-growing plants will have more issues, such as getting too close to the fixture and risking being burnt.

Another issue with uneven light distribution is irrigation. Proper and even irrigation will also be a challenge if the plants are growing unevenly. The faster-growing plants will dry up the grow medium more quickly than the slower-growing plants, resulting in uneven water distribution. The watering process will be hard to monitor and time-consuming.

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Figure 1. An illustration of the effect light uniformity has on even growth.

To combat and resolve the uneven light distribution issue that most grow light systems on the market have, our FLUTTERBY, HYDRA grows light systems are equipped with a rotatable sidebar design, physically manipulating the light distribution to be more focused on a given area.

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Figure 2. Rotatable sidebars to ensure an even lighting distribution.

Calive was competing with another well-known grow light manufacture on Jushi project which was taken place in Ohio state.  Our competitor compromised in sizing and weight to reach desired lighting uniformity by up scaling the physical dimensions of fixture to cover more grow area. Our FLUTTERBY 400W outperformed the competing comparable wattage product in many aspects especially with uniformity, and Our FLUTTERBY 400W is only half of the competitors’ size and weight.  Many manufactures use the method of up-sizing fixtures to reach desired outcomes; however, the bulky size and heavy weight sets additional restrictions and requirements on mounting surfaces during installation.

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Figure 3. Generic Grow Light Lighting Distribution and Uniformity.

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Figure 4. Flutterby 400W Lighting Uniformity and Distribution on Jushi Project’s Infrastructure.